in the kitchen with: looolo

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about 13 years ago a young jewelry designer had a thought. “what is all this glue and plastic used in these designs doing to my health?” hmmmm she wondered, and went on with her day. as the years passed and her love of design changed from jewelry to textiles, she dreamed that one day, designers would be able to create “good” design—design that not only looks good, but actually is good for the designers, manufacturers and consumers. looolo textiles was her answer. over the past four years, joanna notkin has grown looolo into an award-winning company and continues on her journey to make the world a better place through design as a tool to affect change. this year looolo textiles will be awarded the eileen fisher grant for women in business (thanks to a post on this very site!).

when joanna isn’t knee deep in textiles she uses her design skills in the kitchen by making her favorite cupcakes made with organic flour, organic butter and organic eggs…who ever said cupcakes weren’t good for you? just click here for the full recipe or just click “read more” below. [editor’s note: for the record, joanna made these, photographed them, and provided the recipe in less than 24 hours!]

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White Cake Supreme

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cups shortening (150g or 170g butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar (300g)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (7.5ml, get the very best you can!)
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (280g)
3 tsp. baking powder (15g)
1 tsp. salt (5g)
1 cup skim milk (240ml)
5 stiff beaten egg whites

Stir shortening (or butter) with a wooden spoon to soften, or let butter sit at room temperature until it holds an indentation, but is not oily and soft. Gradually add sugar and cream the two ingredients until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes on medium, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters periodically.

Add vanilla.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt (or just whisk in a bowl). Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in egg whites. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake until lightly golden brown about 12-15 minutes at 375F/180C.

Frosting:

2 1/2 cups sugar (300g)
10 large egg whites
4 cups butter or 8 sticks ((910g, yes it’s a lot but it’s good, trust me!) cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) sized pieces
2 1/2 tsp vanilla (12.5ml)

Place sugar and egg whites in the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer. Put bowl over pan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are warm, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers- You should not feel any granules of sugar left in the whites.

Attach the bowl to the mixer and using the whisk attachment beat on high speed until the mixture has cooled completely and the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take around 5-8 minutes depending on your mixer.

When adding the butter, which should be medium soft but not room temperature, add only one piece at a time and wait until it is fully incorporated. If butter is too soft, the icing will not hold up as well. If butter is too hard, icing will not be smooth.

While mixing you may notice that the icing begins to curdle, it will return to a smooth consistency the more it gets beaten and once all the butter is incorporated.

Add vanilla.

Buttercream can be left out and will hold up well. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container and then bring to room temperature and beat on low speed when ready to use. Frosted cupcakes can stay out overnight without having to be covered.

Mmmmmmm enjoy!

About this recipe:

I chose the recipe because baking these is so much fun, and I needed a distraction from work! The cake recipe comes from a vintage cook book that belonged to my grandmother. The recipe is called ‘White Cake Supreme’….even

Written by Kristina of Three Layer Cake

Cakespy

Oh, super, super yum! What could be better than cupcakes? How about cupcakes with a high design aesthetic? Lovely.

Ju

and i love how the frosting is as texturally interesting as your work! :)

Jane

I love Looolo Textiles – a great Canadian eco-success story. And cupcakes? Well, who can say no!?

Meaghan

I love Loolo Textiles and did a piece about them a couple of years ago in NOW Magazine. She has some strong colors which usually aren’t associated with organic. yeah!

Samantha

This recipe calls for cream? I want to make these cup-cakes, but the cream isn’t in the ingredient list.

They are looking so YUM!

Steph

Okay, I know that we are supposed to “contribute constructively” but these are possibly the worst cupcakes I have ever made, and I have made A LOT of cupcakes. If you like eating a stick of butter just by itself, then you will LOVE this icing. Bleeech. I really wanted to like them. I really, really did. I even made them pretty like hers, but alas, tasteless and when you think about the amount of butter, it really makes you lose your appetite.

Alex

no the recipe does not call for cream, it just says to cream together the butter and sugar

joanna notkin

Hello, I just randomly looked at this old post while looking at all these new recipes from so many great artists and designers…I just wanted to respond to Steph’s remark about the amount of butter. This is a traditional Buttercream recipe used for ages in the making of wedding cakes. The reason it can be nice is that it holds up well to piping, can stay out in the heat for a long time without spoilig and does not taste over sugary which can often put me off my cupcakes! These cupcakes can be accompanied by any sort of frosting recipe… what ever you like to put on top! I have countless frosting recipes and each has it’s own group of followers. So, here is another frosting that people seem to love- It’s a very sugary kind but is lovely to pipe and tastes super chocolatey…
Happy Cupcaking!

( This is a recipe from Martha Stewart with a couple of modification that we love!)

* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
* 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla, orange liqueur, or instant coffee as per your preference

Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. Add in 1 tsp vanilla, orange liqueur or instant coffee. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

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